On the loose: Brazilian police search for 'fugitive' British national

On the loose: Brazilian police search for 'fugitive' British national
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Police in Rio de Janeiro say they consider British businessman Ray Whelan a fugitive.

The chief executive of Swiss hospitality company MATCH Services is suspected of being involved in the illegal resale of VIP tickets for the FIFA World Cup.

The MATCH group owns the rights to sell World Cup hospitality packages. Brazilian police are accusing Whelan of being the main source of World Cup tickets that were sold to an Algerian national they have labelled the ‘biggest scalper of Cup tickets.’

Whelan was briefly arrested earlier in the week, then released pending a court order.

He was reportedly filmed fleeing the luxury hotel he was staying in in Rio de Janeiro via the service entrance.

Fabio Barucke, a police investigator on the case said “He’s now considered a fugitive,” and added: “It’s uncommon to leave through the employee entrance. You would usually leave via the front door. An hour ago, the TV was on in his (Whelan’s) room and his slippers were there. This demonstrates he left very quickly.”

In telephone calls wire-tapped by Rio police he discusses cash sales of World Cup final tickets for over 18,000 euro. The MATCH group has acknowledged such conversations between Whelan and Algerian Lamine Fofana. However, they say the sum related to VIP services, not just tickets.

Whelan had earlier denied any wrongdoing, while MATCH Services said he was willing to cooperate with any investigation.